Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]    July 16, 2010 8:00am-8:30am PST

9:00 am
for a total of over 12 hours of discussion and hearings. i did articulate the issues at length, the constitutional issues, the cost issues. you've heard from me in writing. you've heard from me in person. you have the legislation before you. which speaks for itself on its face. you've heard from the police. you've heard from the city attorney and a confidential memo to the supervisors and to the mayor. you've heard from the mayor of a city that has its ordinance in place already and testified to its utility there. you've heard from the sheriff, the district attorney. the controller has yet to weigh in. but i expect when he does, he will note that there is no substantial cost, if any, to implementing this which is great in these budget times in a week when we've seen 80 layoffs of police officers in oakland and are facing a substantial budget deficit next year and for god knows how many years to come.
9:01 am
so i should also note that supervisor alioto-pier, you've heard from her as a sponsor. you've heard from members of the public in letters and in public comment, articulating their frustration with the deficiencies in existing law. and you've heard from state courts and federal courts as well. so with all of that that has been presented by me and by others in writing and in person , i don't think that there's anything else that i can add. >> so you have nothing else to add? anything else to add on the statement that was made by one of the assistant chiefs, assistant keif cashman that indicated that -- chief cashman, that indicated that contrary to your assertion the use of justification for among others for this law, that somehow, you know, police officers needed this law
9:02 am
because they had -- it was a requirement, that they had to have a witness. and you heard on the record the assistant chief agree with me that, in fact, that was not the case. and said that at least two times. so anything to add to dispute that statement by assistant chief cashman? >> you know, i don't recall exactly what was said. i depo recall -- do recall that you said that police currently have the power to tell someone to move if they're blocking the sidewalk. and that is not true. i understand where some confusion on this comes from. let me just give you the short version. we wouldn't be here going through all of this trouble if police had the power to solve the problems that we're talking about. that's the shortest and most clear explanation i can offer. we would not go through all of this and sfpd would not leave law enforcement powers on the table that solve the problem if
9:03 am
they could do it without going through a ballot initiative process. chairman campos: colleagues, any other questions? thank you very much. is there any other question? we'll open it up to public comment. is there any member of the public who would like to speak on this item? please come forward. >> good morning, supervisors. my name is bob. i am working with the sidewalk coalition which has held events which has had thousands of san franciscans celebrating the public space we have on sidewalks in the city. i don't feel that a hearing on this matter would be complete if we didn't address a couple of core issues. first is the name of the legislation. it's been put forward as civil sidewalks, which is a little strange to me.
9:04 am
under the law that's been proposed i could follow somebody on the sidewalk, while standing, and call them a high generalically challenged chucklehead and not be in violation of the law. where as if i was sitting at the front of my house sipping tea, i would be a criminal. i don't understand what the law prohibits. however, there are issues of civil liberties and civil society. so that leads to the second question, which is, what does it mean to propose a law to the voters of san francisco which manifestly is in violation of the constitution and state law? and let me get to what i mean by that. in 1999, the supreme court heard the case chicago v. morales in which they found that the freedom of remaining stationery in public places for innocent purposes is in part protected by the due process clause of the 14th amendment, which expressly identifies i move from one place to another, personal liberty protected by the constitution. it is apparent that an
9:05 am
individual's decision to remain in a public place of his choice is as much a part of his liberty as the freedom of movement inside frontiers as part of our heritage or the right to move to whatever place of one own's inclination may direct. that's directly from the supreme court just over a decade ago. not a lot has changed. lots and lots of san franciscans, literally thousands, are organize against this. on july 31, we're going to have our third sidewalks are for people action on the sidewalks of the city. if anybody wants to find out more, if you want to join us on the sidewalks, you can visit us at thank you. chairman campos: thank you very much. colleagues -- actually, is there any member of the public who would like to speak on this snum seeing none, public -- on this? seeing none, public comment is closed. colleagues, comments? [gavel] i would simply make a final comment on this. even chuck said "the chronicle" indicated following the last time that the mayor's office
9:06 am
came to a hearing before the board on this item, how unprepared the mayor's office was to address some very basic questions. i guess one of the solutions when you're unprepared is that you have selective memory loss in terms of statements that are made, especially if those statements explicitly and clearly contradict what you're saying. even if the statement is made by, you know, someone who holds the second highest rank in the police department. clearly the level of preparation on the mayor's office's part has not changed. my only point will be if they cannot make a case here before the board of supervisors, how can they make a case before the public? i think that those of you out there who care about civility on our streets whether it's the sidewalk or not, i would simply urge you to look at the record because the record is very clear.
9:07 am
the case has not been made that had many months to make, you know, a case that is simply not there. even when they bring members of the police department, those very members do not agree with their analysis and their assessment. but i think in the end voters will see lack of preparation for what it is, which is there is no there, there. supervisor alioto-pier? >> thank you, supervisor cam post. we're obviously in disagreement in this issue. that will come as a great shock. but what i do want to say is that i did sit through those hearings. and i disagree that a case hasn't been made. i think that a case has been made. and when the question about whether or not the police force currently has jurisdiction and that this law is sue perveluss, i think that what we need to explain here is the way that the current law works is that
9:08 am
in order for the police to ask people to move along, they need to have somebody file a complaint. so you have to have someone call. you have to have someone file a complaint with the police department. the cops will come down, and they will ask people to move or they will, i assume, help them make that happen. but what civil sidewalks does is it gives the police the opportunity to walk down a street and to ask people to move along to keep the street -- or the sidewalk, i should say, free for pedestrian use. and i think that what it really important about this is that -- particularly if you are a mother or father with young children, if you use a wheelchair, if you have a disability, you turn a corner and you look down a sidewalk and you think to yourself, is that a safe place for me to go? particularly if there are a group of people sitting in front of one store. you think to yourself -- and i
9:09 am
do this all the time. is that somewhere -- can i get by those people without causing a fuss? and what civil sidewalks does is it helps people, other individuals who live in san francisco who want to be able to walk down our neighborhood commercial districts or corridors and do so and go into buildings or businesses freely, without having to ask people to move, without the fear that if you ask someone to move, they might yell at you. i had my own personal experience where i was walking -- i was rolling, because i use a wheelchair. so i was going across the street with my 7-year-old. a man had asked to help and i said no. he was sitting on the sidewalk. i said, no i'm fine, thanks. he kept saying, let me help you, let me help you. i said, no, i'm fine, thanks. i'm there with my 7-year-old, we're crossing the street. and the man was very agitated that i had said no. he got up, ran across in the middle of the street, kicked me very hard on the behind.
9:10 am
i started to lose my balance. i'm holding on to my 7-year-old. she was 5 at the time. and i turned around, and he's laughing. he runs back and just sits there no. one had seen it other than another woman that was walking across the street. so i do need to bring these examples up, because they do happen. and what we're talking about here is being able to go into businesses, being able to go across the street not having a fear that somebody is going to stop that from happening. so i am supportive of civil sidewalks. i do think that we have had certainly enough hearings here at the board. i think it was 12 hours of public testimony to warrant this to go on the ballot. i do believe that people are going to vote for this when they do see it. and i do think that this is about civility. chairman campos: thank you, supervisor. actually, taking that scenario that you describe, which is a horrible and tragic incident and i'm sorry that it happened, this law would actually, as
9:11 am
proposed by the mayor, would not actually make any of that illegal because as long as the individual is not sitting or lying, the part that led to civility was when he got up and actually kicked you. this law doesn't address that. this actually does not address that specific act. my point is that the record shows that to the extent that this covers civility, supposedly civility, this actually allous for incivility as long as it is not done while the person is sitting or lying. there is nothing in this law that prevents someone from not being civil if they're standing up. that's the irony, that you're using examples that are, in fact, not covered by the law. and the irony is also that the law that would cover something like this are the law that are already on the books. and you and i may disagree about the need for a law, but we may not i think in the end
9:12 am
disagree about the record. and your statement, respectfully, about how the record shows that there is a need for a complaint is simply not the case. you have the assistant chief of police who explicitly said when asked that, in fact, there is no requirement that a complaint be filed. that what the department requires is simply that there's a reasonable description of the victim. and that does not require a complaint. and so i think that there are things that we do legitimately disagree upon. but i think that the record is very clear as to what the law says, as to what the law allows for. what happened to you is a horrible incident and is something that we should not condone as a city. but let's make sure that we actually do something about it instead of having a law that ultimately doesn't really deal with it. >> thank you, supervisor
9:13 am
campos. but i will disagree that statement on its face. i mean, as soon as i was kicked, clearly that's an assault. so we have law that can deal with that. and had there been a police officer around, i could have turned around and said i was assaulted, do something about this in which case a police officer would have done it. but the situation that was in place was that we were going down the street, and the man was sitting with all of his stuff in a very large part of the sidewalk, and it was an intimidating situation to begin with but i needed to get from point a to point b with my child. and so i went down the sidewalk, and at that moment -- it was not until i got kicked, that the police officers could do something about it. with civil sidewalks in place, the police officers have the ability to walk down the sidewalks and to say to people, just like this man, i'm sorry, sir, but you're going to have to pick up your stuff and move along. in which case that sidewalk would not have impeded me in which case i would not have had that threat. and in which case i would not have had to have waited for the assault to take place in order
9:14 am
to do something about it. that is what civil sidewalks is about. it is about being able to walk or roll down a sidewalk without being intimidated. and i will tell you, as a mom, with my child, my anger was so big that my immediate reaction was to turn around and to start yelling at the guy. and a woman walking down the street said to me, leave him alone, he's there all the time, we have problems with him, don't get into a fight when you have your child with you. that is not what should take place on the sidewalks of san francisco. chairman campos: again, i will respectfully disagree with you, supervisor. the law would actually allou the police to intervene even before the kick. if he was on instructing the sidewalk, that is already violation of the law. i think what this points to is that the reality what we need is more of a police presence. those foot patrols are ultimately the solution to all the issue that you are pointing to. but you and i can have
9:15 am
respectful disagreement on this. supervisor mar? supervisor mar: i'm in agreement with the public comment that this is a misnamed measure and that it's going to do nothing to make our neighborhoods and merchant corridors safer. there's existing policies in our laws that should be enforced now. and anytime agreement with my colleague, david campos, on community policing, foot patrols that are really going to make our neighborhoods and public more safe. i also just wanted to say that i think it's a politically motivated measure, clearly that doesn't do anything to improve public safety. but that's just for the record. chairman campos: thank you, supervisor mar. colleagues, any other questions? any comments? supervisor alioto-pier, anything else? we certainly try to keep it interesting here at the rules committee. so we had a motion by supervisor alioto-pier to file this item if we can take that without objection.
9:16 am
[gavel] thank you very much. thank you, mr. king, for coming forward. madam clerk, can you please call item number 3? >> item 3, motion ordering submit to the voters an ordinance establishing the community policing policy and foot beat patrol program. chairman campos: great. thank you very much. speaking of this issue, we have an item that has been introduced by supervisor america america -- supervisor mirkarimi and has been co-sponsored by a number of supervisors, including president chu, supervisor avalos, and myself. supervisor mirkarimi, the floor is yours. we also have here the assistant chief of police and the captain. supervisor mirkarimi: thank you. appreciate it. colleagues, certainly trailing on the conversation that you just had, it couldn't be a month perfect, i think, lead-in into the introduction of this particular ballot measure on
9:17 am
requiring a foot patrol, foot beat program within the san francisco police department to provide you -- department. to provide you context, in 2006 and 2007, when i was seriously concerned about the absence of attention by the police department because of the patchwork way that i thought many expressed neighborhoods, but in particular merchant corridors and mixed use corridors in my district, the fifth district, like in the western edition and ashbury, i legislated a pilot program for foot beats. that was highly debated here at the board of supervisors it never had happened before. in the city and county of san francisco, for such legislation. and admittingly, i even prefaced that i knew that this would be unorthodox for the legislative body to be introducing this particular measure.
9:18 am
but, frankly, out of desperation because we weren't getting the level of attention that we needed from the mayor's office in directing the police to develop tailored forms of community policing in any of the 10 district police stations , we certainly resorted to what we thought was a good, i think, experiment in trying to upgrade community policing strategies throughout san francisco. and i didn't just want it in my district because many of our colleagues at the time also signed on for that particular program. we saw nothing but great success of that program for a year and a half. a report which had been commissioned by our own controller and worked out through the police department, police chief at the time, heather fong and command staff, had shown that there was a corollary success in the foot beat programs where there was the upgraded level of attention .
9:19 am
it was obvious i think by that level of attention it made it very difficult for when the foot beat pilot program then expired. because many in those particular areas wanted to see that continued. that is nothing, i think, but a compliment to the police department because people love to see foot beats. we know that the assistant chief and the chief will also validate that very notion, that people like foot beats. this was, in part, the giuliani strategy in new york city for reclaiming manhattan in new york city by an upgrade level of deployment. when we had designed our legislation in 2006 and 2007, we had been in close contact with the police chiefs and their command staffs, both in new york, both in chicago, both in seattle and in houston among other cities to make sure that what we were doing is not out of the orbit or stratosphere of
9:20 am
what current police strategy, strategizing, is. many departments in big cities and mid-sized cities are returning back to this strategy because they find it to be very effective and, in a sense, not reactive but preventative. when there was an up tick -- and there's always been a constant simmer. but when there's been an up tick in corridors like this, it was clear to me that absent of any foot beats there was going to continue to be that level of distress. this is why we noticed that when the foot beat program had ended and when we began to see the up tick of that kind of distress in incivility, if you will, encore doors, this is when we insisted on foot beats. it wasn't until that there was well publicized debate in the "chronicle" when we finally saw a return of foot beats in the
9:21 am
area when clearly it was well reported that that in itself served as an effective response in taking care of a lot of the problems, which is why i think the conversation is quite interesting about foot beats and the need for having them. and in the previous discussion about civil sidewalks. you're not going to have civil sidewalks in the city unless you have foot beats there to implement them. and whether we have, you know, adding another law to the 33 anti-loitering law that are on the book right now that address the level of behavior that supervisor alioto-pier and others are talking about, the bottom line is foot beats are the best strategy used at the discretion as the legislation proffers by the police chief in order to help respond to the tailored needs of many of our diverse communities in san francisco.
9:22 am
and it works. and this is why the perf study is becoming the bible, the new bible, of the police department in their new implementing strategies of reorganizing the police department. and part of the perf program that police chief gascon is using has a section about community policing and on foot beats. and they generously quote the controller's study that was commissioned in 2007 in the execution of those foot beats. that is well refrpblsed -- referenced in the controller's report, in the letters that had been sent to us. so we very much appreciate, i think, the question of, is foot beat something we can legislate and we'd like to see more of? i anticipate that the concerns that will be shared with us by the assistant chief in the police department is that it's a question of staffing. we get that. it is a question of staffing
9:23 am
which is why we put the onus back in the police chief and the police department to make those judgment calls. however, though, i think it's important that the people of san francisco weigh in on the importance of community policing and a feature of community policing being institutionalized to the degree that it's not seen as a last resort strategy only, but seen as part of a primary strategy in the unfolding and in the deployment of community policing. you ask the 25 people or so that are in this room, however many what their definition of community policing is and i guarantee you you're going to have 20 to 25 different interpretations. if you look at the other bible of the police department which is the institutional bible, known as the department general orders, the d.g.o.'s of the police department have not had an update on the definition of community policing since 1994. not since the heyday of the clinton administration was there any execution of a
9:24 am
description of what community policing is. and you look at that, it's a vague two-line sentence about what community policing is and has no reference whatsoever to the modern techniques, to the modern techniques, of community policing. interesting enough, in 1994, that was when proposition d, a charter amendment, was put on the ballot. and it was that charter amendment that created a floor of our obligation to have 1,971 police officers in the city and county's police department. that may have been an effective tool now. but if you ask me, when you talk about ideas of now having community policing and if there's really going to be substance to the talk about really unfolding community policing in 10 district stations, which has not happened yet by the way and we'll get into that,en that 1971 figure is now, in my opinion, obsolete. and the employment should
9:25 am
seriously look at revising it. not only has it become a blessing for them back then to have a floor of what their offices are, it's become a psychological ceiling which rarely we've ever exceeded. so with that information, i think bundled together, we knew back in the polling that foot and beat patrols is as popular if not more popular. in fact, it registered 79% in a poll by san franciscans if they want foot beats. and so i think that is not going to fade away. and if we want to have a complimentary -- complementary strategy about making sure people are not being assaulted on sidewalks, babies are not being spat on and when mayors are going down merchant quarters and see people smoking crack, then i guarantee you that what is going to address that is the tried an true strategy of police being out there, executing the laws that are already on the books. not just adding a new law to the repertoire that doesn't go enforced. so i'd be more than happy to
9:26 am
bring up the assistant chief after you, colleagues. chairman campos: just a question, supervisor, before we do that. know that president chu wanted to make a statement 678 -- statement. >> good morning. i'm the aide to board president chu who wasn't able to be here this morning. i'm here to offer what i hope will be a friendly amendment to this excellent legislation and this excellent ordinance that we hope go before voters this november. president chu is a co-sponsor of the measure and plauds supervisor mirkarimi for his work on foot patrols over the years, over many years. as chair of public safety, president chu not evenly supports this measure but heard the hours and hours of public testimony related to the sit-lie ordinance and measure that will go before voters this
9:27 am
fall. this amendment explicitly connects those two measures in a way that i think clarifies for voters what is at stake in november and what direction the city should be headed in as we try to address these issues that we all care about related to civility and to public safety. so with that i'd like to briefly read the amendment into the record. and i do have copies both for the clerk and for the supervisors and for members of the public. and this amendment would go at the end of the community policing foot bale patrols ordinance -- patrols motion as it exists now and would be added as section 2. voters find that foot patrols ensuring the regular presence of officers to enforce existing laws against sidewalk obstruction, assault, and other disorderly conduct are a more effective vehicle to address safety and civility in public spaces and protect the merchants and citizens than an outright ban against persons sitting or liing on public sidewalks. therefore it is the voter's intent that the foot beat patrol program up is plant any city ordinance the voters
9:28 am
approve at the november 2, 2010, election that bans lie organize sitting on public sidewalks. there are also some minor changes to the title as well. potentially, sfoips, one suggestion would be to kind of continue this esh measure on two tracks, to duplicate the file and have, if you are amenable, to amend this section into one version of it and we'll move forward. i'd be happy to answer any questions about what this means. chairman campos: i don't have any questions at this point. but my preference would be, first of all, out of courtesy to the author of this that if there's any amendment that it be through the dupe indication of the files -- duplication of the files so that there is an amendment in the original form and then one that would include the amendment. so i would make a motion to duplicate the file and that with the duplicated file that this amendment be inserted.
9:29 am
supervisor mirkarimi: may i? chairman campos: yes, please. supervisor mirkarimi: i just wanted to weigh into that amendment. i'm fine with that. supervisor campos i think your setment speaks to mind. want to thank president chu's office for the contribution. chairman campos: alioto-pier? supervisor elsbernd: thank you very much, supervisor campos, through the chair, supervisor mirkarimi and for other conversations on this, this morning, i just -- you know i have just two questions, concerns, that i'd like to have addressed that perhaps we can discuss. one, reading this ballot measure i'm not exactly clear why it's a ballot measure. this is the type of thing that could go through the board of supervisor that we would not necessarily need to send to the voters. so i'm curious why we would be doing that. and then the second one is, you know, if we could have a